Morrinsville College - 27/06/2014

Findings

Morrinsville College provides good quality educational opportunities for students across a wide range of learning areas. Academic and vocational courses provide meaningful learning pathways for students who wish to transition to work and tertiary study. Students benefit from the commitment of teachers and school leaders to ensuring a positive and caring school culture.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Morrinsville College is a Years 9 to 13, co-educational secondary school, catering for students who come from the township of Morrinsville and surrounding rural areas. The roll of 713 includes 143 students who identify as Māori. Many of these students have strong connections with Ngāti Haua iwi and Tainui waka. There are also 8 international fee paying students.

Since the 2009 ERO review, the experienced principal, and a high proportion of the staff have remained the same. A new and extended senior leadership team has been established, and the current chairperson of the board of trustees was appointed in 2013.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO and has responded to the areas for review and development in the 2009 ERO report. Teachers have engaged in significant professional learning and development related to enhancing teaching strategies and reflecting on their practice. This has included a range of initiatives and programmes such as assessment for learning, positive behaviour for learning, teaching as inquiry, and development in information and computer technologies (ICT). In addition, there have been a number of initiatives to better engage priority learners, improve retention rates, and increase the collection and use of student voice.

Students learn in a friendly and caring school culture promoted by the CLEAR principles - contribute, listen, engage, achieve and respect. The school is well supported by active trustees, parents/whānau, the wider community, and helpers in sporting and cultural events.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

School leaders and teachers are increasing the use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school assesses Year 8 students in term 4 prior to their entry using nationally referenced assessment tests in reading and mathematics. Data from this assessment indicates that a significant proportion of Year 9 students are achieving below national expectations at the time of entry. This data, and other information, is used to identify priority learners and guide staff in supporting students’ literacy and numeracy requirements. Senior leaders acknowledge the benefits of continuing to work with contributing schools to share achievement information to assist students as they transition to college.

In Years 9 and 10, teachers use a range of school assessments to gather and report on student achievement information in relation to levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (TNZC). Teachers have increased the feedback they give to students about their learning, and some teachers are planning differentiated programmes to meet the needs of diverse learners. In a recent initiative, some learning areas have introduced individual student portfolios that include examples of assessed work and student goal setting. The challenge for senior leaders is to ensure that there is greater consistency in the use of high-quality teaching practices that contribute to students’ understanding of their own learning and next learning steps.

Senior leaders and learning area leaders provide the principal and board with regular reports that evaluate student achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The school is able to show that by the time students reach Year 11, they are achieving at similar levels to national expectations in Levels 1, 2 and 3 in NCEA. The school has identified that, as a result of teacher professional development, the gap between Māori and non-Maori achievement has narrowed. Raising the achievement of boys and Māori students, and increasing the number of merit and excellence grades in NCEA, remain priorities for the school community.

Senior leaders gather and analyse a range of other information on attendance and retention that informs decision making and resourcing. The board and senior leaders recognise that increasing the rates of attendance, and retention to senior levels, are ongoing challenges.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The Morrinsville College curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning across all areas of TNZC. School leaders design learning pathways in response to students’ interests and future needs. Students benefit from access to a range of vocational courses and careers advice that support their transition to further education and the world of work. Significant features of the curriculum include the success of the performing and visual arts, the range of available technologies, agriculture and science, and physical education and sport. Students have many opportunities to take part in extra-curricular learning activities, events and excursions.

A range of student leadership opportunities include school and house leaders, peer and academic mentors, and Māori student leaders (amokura). There is an active student council which provides suggestions for school improvement.

Teachers establish positive and caring relationships with students. They are increasingly focusing on individual and small group coaching and mentoring to better support students to achieve success. An example of this is the ‘learning hub’ that has been established to help students at risk of not successfully transitioning to high school.

Students who require additional learning support are identified and monitored. The special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO), school leaders and teachers are sharing and implementing strategies to raise their achievement. The principal and ERO agree that a more strategic and coordinated approach is now required to accelerate the progress of students who have been identified as underachieving.

In response to teacher professional learning and development, most classroom teachers are implementing a range of teaching practices which include:

  • sharing the purpose of the learning
  • introducing literacy and numeracy strategies across the curriculum
  • integrating Māori contexts for learning
  • incorporating ICT into teaching and learning.

Recent priorities in teacher development have included a strategic focus on seeking student feedback about the learning programmes. Teachers are also inquiring into, and reflecting on, the effectiveness of their own practice as part of the newly developed performance management process.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school continues to promote educational success for Māori as Māori.

Positive actions and initiatives include:

  • the principal’s continued commitment to and support for Te Ao Māori
  • the continued expansion and development of Te Puawaitanga as a place of belonging and identity for Māori students, teachers and whānau
  • the establishment of a waharoa near Te Ao Whaanui as an important gateway to the school
  • murals and artefacts in and around the school
  • ongoing relationships with local marae and iwi organisations
  • significant Māori representation on the board of trustees
  • ongoing consultation with Māori community and whānau
  • the increased opportunity and promotion of the Māori performing arts and manu korero
  • Māori student leadership and the celebration of Māori achievement at award evenings
  • a significant group of staff who have participated in a Mauri Ora course

School leaders and the Māori community recognise that educational outcomes for many Māori students remain a concern. The board and school community should give priority to the understanding and effective enactment of the guiding principles of Ka Hikitia in all aspects of school operations. These principles include:

  • belief in the positive potential of Māori students
  • high expectations for Māori students to achieve
  • ongoing valuing of identity, culture and language
  • productive partnerships with whānau.

Increasing opportunities for Māori students to access culturally appropriate pastoral and academic support is likely to support and promote their wellbeing and success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the board of trustees places high priority on student wellbeing and success and work closely with the principal and staff in promoting the school’s strategic goals
  • the principal is knowledgeable, experienced and leads by example. He has established strong connections within the education and wider community and is well supported by a collaborative and capable senior leadership team
  • learning area leaders provide effective curriculum implementation and support for teachers
  • school leaders and staff introduce programmes and initiatives to improve student wellbeing and the school culture for learning
  • there are regular and systematic processes for self review.

ERO recommends that the board, principal and senior leaders work with external expertise to:

continue to work towards developing an agreed, shared vision for the school as a 21st Century learning environment, as reflected in the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. This vision, along with more effective self review, is likely to bring greater cohesion and sustainability to school development and improvement.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review 8 international students were attending the school. The school also hosts school groups for short stays as part of an ongoing relationship with schools in Japan.

The school provides a high standard of pastoral care for international students and gives them regular opportunities to talk about their goals and experiences. A well-designed and effectively implemented ESOL programme caters for students who need English language support. The students are making good progress towards achieving their goals. Appropriate policies and practices support the social integration and academic learning programmes of the school’s international students.

The international Dean, home-stay coordinator, principal and board have developed processes to monitor the quality of provision for international students and to ensure compliance with the Code. There is a need to report to the board in relation to international students on an annual basis and for more regular monitoring of students in home stay situations. The board and principal also need to ensure that relationships amongst personnel who work with international students, remain positive and do not compromise the effectiveness of their work.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

Morrinsville College provides good quality educational opportunities for students across a wide range of learning areas. Academic and vocational courses provide meaningful learning pathways for students who wish to transition to work and tertiary study. Students benefit from the commitment of teachers and school leaders to ensuring a positive and caring school culture.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 June 2014

About the School

Location

Morrinsville

Ministry of Education profile number

126

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

713

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Other

Pacific

70%

21%

7%

1%

1%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

August 2006

June 2003